Park City Ski Areas Go For $ 15 Minimum Wage Due To ‘Serious’ Labor Shortage
The nationwide labor shortage is also being felt in the Park City area, officials said, with some restaurants skipping lunch service and cutting hours, and “Help Wanted” signs hanging throughout. Summit County businesses.
As a sign that the ski industry is not immune to hiring problems, Vail Resorts and Deer Valley Resort, two of Summit County’s largest employers, have announced in recent weeks that they will pay employees without tip a minimum wage of $ 15 per hour.
Jennifer Wesselhoff, President and CEO of the Park City Chamber / Bureau, welcomed the wage increases and said they come during a “serious” shortage of workers.
“Almost every business I talk to tells me their # 1 problem is the labor shortage and finding employees,” Wesselhoff said.
She said the difficulty in finding workers is part of a wider economic transition fueled by a pandemic, with millions of people leaving the workforce nationwide and others changing jobs or pursuing jobs. studies or training.
“From what I understand, this is basically a reassessment of the workforce in America,” she said. “It’s not just a seaside resort problem.
The shortage, however, is certainly present locally. According to the Utah Department of Workforce, Summit County Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rate was 2.4% in June.
Jeff Jones, county economic development director, said it was too early to say what kind of effect the resort’s wage increase will have on the local economy and whether it will put pressure on other employers to quit. ‘they are also increasing their wages.
“When resorts raise their minimum wage to $ 15, it doesn’t mean all Kamas places are going to increase theirs to $ 15,” Jones said. He said a worker’s proximity to a job and the cost of living in an area were important factors in assessing wages.
The labor shortage, however, presents a pretty serious problem, Jones said.
In 2018 and 2019, the local economy gained around 6,000 seasonal jobs in winter. Foreign workers using J1 visas make up about 2,000 to 2,400 of those workers in a typical year, Jones said, leaving 3,000 to 4,000 jobs to be filled.
He said hiring will likely continue to be a challenge.
“Some demographers refer to it as the ‘sans-demie,’ (meaning) ‘without people,'” Jones said.
Effects could include more expensive food in restaurants or merchandise in stores as owners pass on increased labor costs to consumers. This has already led to the closing of restaurants at less lucrative hours.
“We are finding that workers are turning the wheels,” Jones said.
Ski resorts operated with fewer full staff last year with many mountain restaurants closed or severely limited by the pandemic, but will likely need more workers this year.
Jeremy Levitt, president of Deer Valley, said in a prepared statement announcing the pay increase that the increase would be offered for winter jobs this season.
“The Park City area continues to see a competitive job market and a high cost of living,” Levitt said in the statement. “In order to retain our talented team and recruit future staff, it is essential that we increase our starting salary and continue to provide industry-leading benefits. “
A spokesperson for Vail Resorts in a prepared statement did not say whether the pay rise was a recruiting tool.
“These salary changes will be the biggest investment we make as we approach next season,” the statement said. “We know that talent and people will be essential to our success this winter, as they always are. “
Wesselhoff said he heard that companies used many different tactics to attract workers. In addition to enrollment bonuses, she mentioned transportation allowances, health and wellness benefit packages, and housing compensation.
But Wesselhoff said the labor shortage puts small businesses in a difficult position, forced to compete for employees with resorts with deep pockets while having slimmer profit margins.
Jones said companies looking to hire would devote all possible resources to the effort.
Nationally, Jones said average hourly earnings for recreation and hospitality workers hit a record $ 18.09 in June.
But he said wages alone show an incomplete picture.
He shared data that shows servers in Summit County make about $ 2,000 more than their Utah County counterparts, for example.
The cost of living in Summit County, however, is about 35% higher than the national average. With that taken into account, the median salary for servers in Summit County drops to around $ 16,000, while that of Utah County remains around $ 19,500.
“The impacts of the cost of living cannot be overstated,” Jones said.